New air ambulance prepares for take-off

New air ambulance prepares for take-off

Published at 10:55am 11th August 2016. (Updated at 2:30pm 11th August 2016)

Pilots, paramedics and doctors on the Yorkshire Air Ambulance are getting ready for the arrival of their new helicopter.

They're now in the final stages of training before operations start early next month.

The Airbus H145 helicopter, G-YAAC, will enter service at the charity's flagship Nostell base near Wakefield.

It will then be joined by a second H145, G-YOAA, which is now expected before Christmas and will be based at RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk.

The two state-of-the-art helicopters will replace the existing fleet of MD902 Explorers.

Chairman Peter Sunderland said: "This is such an exciting time, not only for the charity, but we hope for the people of Yorkshire too. We have been building up to this for such a long time now, and to think we are only a few short weeks away from commencing operations in the H145 is just fantastic.

"We were delighted to accept G-YAAC from Airbus Helicopter UK at their based in Oxford on 1st August. It was the first time we had seen the helicopter fully complete with its medical fit, and words cannot describe what an overwhelming day it was for all of us.

"As a charity, we have been working towards this day for so long. Many years of careful planning, researching, saving and budgeting have gone in to the process to ensure we have chosen the correct helicopter type for the people of Yorkshire, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we have definitely chosen the right one."

The new aircraft - each costing around £6 million - offer exceptional flight performance and will have significantly lower operational and maintenance costs.

The H145 is capable of flying at night, enabling longer flying hours, and is used by military, police and air rescue services across the world.

Captain Andy Lister, Director of Flight Operations, said: "The H145 is a larger aircraft with better endurance and a longer range than we're used to, which helps us cover Yorkshire's five million acres, but the overall footprint is small enough for reaching patients in tight areas.

"Myself and my team of pilots cannot wait to take to the controls of the H145 and see them become icons in the skies across Yorkshire."

A specialist team of doctors and highly-skilled paramedics from the crew were actively involved in choosing state-of-the-art medical equipment, which will provide critically sick and injured patients with the most advanced treatment.

Clinical Operations Manager Pete Vallance said: "The open cabin allows clinicians to have full access to the patient in-flight and we have future-proofed the specialised medical equipment that is being fitted.

"We believe we have now got the best aircraft and the best equipment available to enable us to provide top-level clinical care across Yorkshire for many years to come."

Yorkshire Air Ambulance still needs to raise £12,000 every single day to keep its helicopters flying.

The charity serves five million people across Yorkshire and attends an average of more than 1,000 incidents a year.